Village Board of Trustees Meeting July 16, 2008

The Village Board of Trustees met on July 16, 2008 at 7:30pm.

Mayoral Report
In his Mayoral Report, Mayor Stebbins announced that audited financial statements for the period ending May 31, 2008 are now available in the Village Office.
The DEC Consent Order (Tuxedo Lake Dam) is still an active process. It is likely that a special meeting will need to be scheduled for the week of July 20, as July 25 is the deadline for a draft version of the order, in which the three involved parties (the Village, The Tuxedo Club and the Elene De Saint Phalle Irrevocable Trust) must come to an agreement regarding roles of responsibility and liability pertaining to the dam. In the meantime, the Village is working closely with both Applied Weather Assoc and engineers O’Brien and Gere to negate the DEC’s implication that the dam is unsafe. There is a possibility that the Tuxedo Club will be required to remove vegetation and trees from the area. In addition, a waterline currently running through the dam will need to be relocated as it is under pressure and if a leak should occur it will degrade the embankment from holding back storm water.
Finally, the Mayor commented on the Trustee Roles and Projects as resolved at the Reorganization meeting, stating that responsibilities have been more widely distributed among the Trustees. It is his hope that this reorganization will lead to more focused action as well as trustee reporting. The primary focus in the coming year will be on the infrastructure process as it unfolds and the information coming from the Infrastructure Advisory Committee will be vital. The awarding of contracts, how each project is to be funded and what debt service the Village incurs will be discussed in public at monthly meetings before action is taken.
In closing, the Mayor commented that moving forward the community needs to develop a constructive approach in order to heal divisions and address Village issues.

Deputy Mayor’s Report
Newly appointed Deputy Mayor Jim Hays commented that he looks forward to working with all members of the Board.

Advisory Committee Reports
On behalf of the Wildlife Advisory committee, Sally Sonne reported that the wildlife questionnaire has been completed. Roughly 25% of Village residents participated. Sally gave a summary of the results. Most notable is that roughly 70% of participants believe there are too many deer in the Village and roughly 40% of participants have had at least 1 case (and sometimes multiple cases) of Lyme Disease in their home. Roughly 68% of the participants reported having seen black bears while roughly 95% reported having seen wild turkeys. Sally concluded her report by asking the Board to make the questionnaire results available to the public by posting them on the Village website as soon as possible.
Mayor Stebbins commented that the purpose of the questionnaire had been to validate wildlife concerns within the community and that he was pleased with its success. The next step will be for the Wildlife Committee to write a subsequent report, detailing their findings and to present the Board with a list of appropriate “next steps” including multiple options for each concern.
With regard to the deer, Trustee Hays commented that while clearly the majority of participants agree that there are too many deer in the Village, it will be important to work with the appropriate agencies to determine what the “right number” of deer for the Village is and to what degree the herd should be reduced. A clear plan for maintaining and controlling the population will be necessary.
Audience member Nancy Hays suggested that members of the committee meet with the new Police officers and discuss with them the proper protocol for handling wild animal calls specifically bears and rattle snakes. She commented that police should be urged to always contact proper agencies before shooting an animal.
Sally Sonne commented that the police might need special equipment to handle such calls, specifically the ones pertaining to rattle snakes.
Trustee Hays responded that possibly the Village police could benefit from training in this area,
On behalf of the Environmental Advisory Committee, Susan Goodfellow reported that
The committee is till awaiting responses to their grant applications, which were filed a while back. Applications have been filed with both the Orange County Planning Board as well as the Orange County Water Authority and, if received, the grant money will be used to assist the Village with the Water Shed Study.
For the first time, the Village has been included in the DEC’s New York State Study of Lakes. During the months of June and July samples were taken from all three lakes and results show that Oxygen levels in Tuxedo Lake are “great”, while the levels in the Wee Wah and Pond Three are “decent.”
In addition, the Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program (CSLAP) has begun. Samples have been collected and are being prepared for the first round of testing, scheduled to take place the week of July 20. Mrs. Goodfellow recognized Sue Heywood in particular for her help with this process.
Princeton Hydro, the environmental consultants hired by the Village to create a Lakes Management plan, has completed their first round of sampling.

New Business
The Board voted unanimously in favor of allowing Water and Billing Clerk John Ledwith to upgrade the Software used for water billing.

A possible 180-day Building Moratorium for Ridgeline and Precipice areas was discussed. Back in January, the Viewshed Committee presented the Board with proposed legislation designed to alter the Village zoning code in an effort to preserve and protect the viewsheds around the three Village lakes. As part of the proposed legislation, a map was presented labeling all areas visible from either the lakes themselves or the roads surrounding the lakes as the Ridge Overlay District. The proposed legislation outlined new standards for building within this district, which required structures to be constructed with materials and colors that fit the surrounding landscape and limited them in terms of height and size. However, the legislation was not popular with the public for many reasons, namely concerns that the restrictions would devalue properties within the proposed district, and as a result of the negative feedback,, the legislation was tabled. In recent months, however, an application has come before the ZBA, requesting permission to build on the ridgeline above Tuxedo Lake. The proposed Moratorium would allow the Viewshed Committee time to amend their proposed legislation and work together with the Board as well as the public to properly address the ridgeline issue in the Village Code. Trustee Shaw raised several questions pertaining to the appeal process associated with hardship cases, however, attorney Mike Donnelly was not present to answer them.
The Mayor suggested that a final draft of the proposed moratorium be put together for discussion at the next Board meeting (possible as early as next week), following which a Public Hearing should be set.

The Mayor introduced two new legislative initiatives.
The first pertained to setting restrictions on the size and weight of commercial vehicles entering the Village. Currently, there are no such restrictions in the Village Code. Because the current condition of Village roads is a serious concern, the Mayor feels it is important to investigate the amount of weight that they can handle without creating further destruction. In addition, because many Village roads are windy and narrow, it is important to determine an appropriate size for large vehicles in order to maintain safety on the roads. Trustee Hays suggested speaking with Village Engineers regarding the sustainable weight of the roads and also the Police regarding the length of vehicles.

The second initiative pertained to a proposed restriction on leaf blowers for all weekends between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Trustee Shaw expressed concern that there are some residents who wish to use leaf blowers for limited amounts of time on Saturdays and Sundays because they work during the week and are therefore unable to do the work at any other time. Trustee Hansen suggested restricting commercial landscaping on weekends during the summer and allowing residents to do the work if desired during specified hours. (suggested 9am-4:30pm)

Finally, the Board unanimously approved the addition of William Kyles as a full-time Motor Equipment Operator to the Village DPW.

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